Sometimes we find information on ancestors that are less than palatable whether it be illegitimacy, criminality or even worse, involvement with genocide, which for me would be an unbearable cross to bear. But it has happened right here in Tasmania.
When I think of the Danish adventurer, Jorgen Jorgensen, who was deeply involved in the Black War, I cringe at the mere mention of his name even though I am not in any way related to him.
Then there are the immigrants who brought with them hidden secrets from wherever they came from, some, unfortunately, with a sense of bravado at their recent accomplishments and others with a deep sense of sorrow at what had come to pass. For example, many Anglo-Indians came to Tasmania in the late 1800s and quite a few of them settled in the Northwest. Could it be possible that some of these Anglo-Indian settlers have had a hand in the massacre of thousands of civilians in the years following the Indian Mutiny of 1857?
On our journey in researching family history, it could potentially open a Pandora’s Box of secrets and skeletons. Some of us may turn away or gloss over it, or even acknowledge it just as it had happened. However, on the other end of the spectrum, one may be pleasantly surprised to discover blue blood coursing through their veins or an ancestor who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. In any case, the search can be hugely rewarding and broaden our understanding of our collective history and the complexities of the human condition.
My rule of thumb is to exercise caution in how you approach genealogy and be circumspect in publishing information pertaining to individuals born less than 100 years ago, and especially be mindful of how the information can affect the surviving children.
My next blog will cover slavery and the ties of several Tasmanian colonists to the slave trade in the West Indies.